Shirin Ebadi

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2003

Shirin Ebadi (c)Berhnard Ludewig/Allianz Kulturstiftung/More Europe

Shirin Ebadi is an Iranian lawyer, a former judge and human rights activist and founder of Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran. On 10 October 2003, Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote human rights, in particular, the rights of women, children, and political prisoners in Iran. She is the first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and only the fifth Muslim to receive a Nobel Prize in any field.
 
Dr. Ebadi was one of the first female judges in Iran. She served as president of the city court of Tehran from 1975 to 1979 and was the first Iranian woman to achieve Chief Justice status. She, along with other women judges, was dismissed from that position after the Islamic Revolution in February 1979. She was made a clerk in the court she had once presided over, until she petitioned for early retirement. After obtaining her lawyer's license in 1992, Dr. Ebadi set up private practice. As a lawyer, Dr. Ebadi has taken on many controversial cases defending political dissidents and as a result has been arrested numerous times.
 
Shirin Ebadi is also a university professor. She has published over 70 articles and 12 books dedicated to various aspects of human rights.

Europe clearly is the only place where people can speak up critically, and this is a unique cultural value.